2002 Harlan Estate Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend

SKU #1022371 100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The extraordinary Harlan Estate, which I awarded 100 points seven years ago, offers no justifiable reason to doubt its perfect score. It is still a baby, with an inky purple color and notes of smoky camphor intermixed with creme de cassis, Asian soy and a hint of cedar beginning to emerge as well as some espresso and subtle damp forest floor notes. The wine has awesome intensity, a full-bodied mouthfeel, a skyscraper-like texture, and a finish that goes on for close to a minute. This is a perfect wine, still youthful and young, and not even in full adolescence as of 2012. It has 40 or more years ahead of it, but should hit its plateau of full maturity in another 5-10 years. It is certainly one of the most showy , flamboyant and remarkable Harlan Estates made to date. (More recently, the 2007 tends to resemble this wine more than any other vintage I can think of.) Kudos to Bill Harlan! (RP)  (6/2012)

99 points Wine Enthusiast

 The aroma is deep and inviting, equal parts new oak, Cabernet fruit and dried herbs. Has tremendous weight, with red and black cherry, cola, chocolate, cassis and roasted coconut flavors. Brilliant now, virtually flawless and totally delicious, yet has the impeccable balance to age and even improve over the years. The listed price is its pre-release price. Drink now through at least 2020.  (9/2006)

98 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep medium ruby. Knockout nose combines black raspberry, blackberry, candied violet, licorice pastille, black pepper and a suggestion of dusty earth. Like a liquid confection in the mouth: thick and sweet yet almost magically shapely and fresh. The longest, most inexorably palate-staining wine of my tour of the North Coast in early March: this lost no strength in my mouth after I had spit it. Damn near close to perfect wine; only my own refusal to give a perfect score to a wine that's still a decade or more short of its peak kept my score down. Bill Harlan, incidentally, compares the 2002 vintage to the 1995, which is showing spectacularly today. (I was able to retaste the extraordinary 2001, which is perhaps even more classic than the 2002 if not quite as extravagantly thick, with slightly more roasted yet sappy aromas and flavors of crystallized berries, minerals, tar and licorice, and great inner-mouth energy and persistence. This very backward wine has the acid/tannin spine to evolve in bottle for 15 to 20 years. (ST)  (5/2005)

94 points Wine Spectator

 Offers a core of rich dark berry, sour cherry, black licorice, loamy earth and dried berry flavors. Full-bodied, firmly tannic, yet deep and concentrated, almost too young in this tasting.—2002 California Cabernet blind retrospective (May 2012). Drink now through 2024. (Web-2012) (JL)

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 14